Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Have you ever felt like you might not be cut out for sales?

You are parked behind a restaurant waiting for your appointment time.  You could be selling them anything.   Association membership, equipment, supplies, insurance, etc.  It's the hottest day of summer.  The afternoon rain shower made the humidity so thick you can cut it with a knife.

You open your car door and the steam from the blacktop makes it feel even hotter.  You walk past the dumpster and the smell practically makes you sick.  You open the back door to the kitchen and the heat hits you like a blast furnace.

The person you are going to see is standing in front of the stove.  You know he sees you, but he doesn't even make eye contact with you.  All the years you spent in school have not prepared you for the insecure feelings and humiliation you are now experiencing.

Doctors, lawyers, accountants, and just about every other profession spend years in advanced schooling learning their trade before they ever see their first client.  Your advanced schooling consisted of a short company training course teaching you how to enter orders and find information about the thousands of products you're supposed to be selling.

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

People Need You Right Now

Right now, at this very minute, there are people in need of your products and services.  These potential customers are going to your competitor because they don't know who you are, what you do, why they should choose you and how to find you.
The components of marketing are really simple.  However, all the new social media venues, added to the already existing choices, make the subject seem complicated.
Let's boil it down to the lowest common denominator.  The purpose of marketing is to let potential customers know, and remind existing customers, four things:
1.  Who you are.
2.  What you do.
3.  Why you.
4.  Where to find you.
Think of your marketing as "word of mouth".  Only you are in control of the words. 
Here's three marketing statements that answer the four questions: who, what, why and where?
Grocery store example:
1.  Who you are: My name is Joe Smith, owner of your local IGA Grocery Store.
2.  What you do: We have a huge selection of locally grown produce as well as a deli department with a unique selection of meats and cheeses that you won't find anywhere else. 
3.  Why you: Our highly skilled and knowledgeable meat cutters will show you how to amaze your friends and family when they eagerly show you how to prepare and serve meals that will really be impressive. Service you won't find anywhere else.
4.  Where to find you: We are located in Edmond on the SE corner of Western Ave and Memorial Road with plenty of parking.
If you were to put a similar short and precise message on the local radio station (recorded by you), in the local newspaper (with your picture), on the local television station (with you doing the commercial), on all your social media networks, in the yellow pages, on a targeted postcard mailing to all the neighborhoods surrounding your store or restaurant, what do you think would happen?  Would it work?
I can predict with 100% certainty that it will work IF it was done consistently and you lived up to your promises.
Restaurant example:
1.  Who you are: Tony Valentine, owner of T's BBQ, where award winning BBQ doesn't happen by accident. 
2.  What you do: Since opening in May 2014, starting at zero, T's BBQ has grown to cooking over 400 pounds of BBQ every day for our dine-in, carry-out and catering customers.
3.  Why you: Before opening T's BBQ I spent more than 7 years entering Kansas City BBQ competitions going from a novice to winning cash prizes and awards for my perfected recipes.  Most people would stop there, but I wanted my BBQ to be the very best.  I went on to become a Certified BBQ Judge and am now qualified to not only create my own award winning BBQ, but to judge the quality of others.
4.  Where to find you: T's BBQ is located at 108 Lakeshore Dr, Harrison, AR. Across from Lake Harrison.
My example:
1.  Who you are: Bob Oros, President and Founder of FSD Marketing, Inc.
2. What do you do: I have been helping foodservice distributors and restaurant operators increase their sales and profits since 1992.
3.  Why you: I have trained more salespeople than any other person in the history of the foodservice distribution industry.  Leveraging this experience I have created a unique sales and marketing program available only for foodservice distributors in certain geographical areas.  This program will raise $43,200 from your vendors, increase your sales immediately by 20%, give you a tool that will double your account base and show you how to present 384 new items to your current customers.  Contact me today for details.
4.  For details or visit my website.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

How to add value to every product you sell.

A sales rep recently told me a great story about how to keep from giving a discount or from having to negotiate the price. He was having the brakes adjusted on his car and the cost was $140. When he asked, "Is that the best you can do" here is how he responded: "If you want to negotiate the price – the break job will cost you $150!"

Think about what a great answer that is. What is he really saying? He is saying that I am already giving you the best price I can. He is saying that if you want to negotiate I will raise the price to $150 and we can see if you can get me down to the bottom price of $140.

Try it. If someone asks if that is the best you can offer, quote a higher price and say that is the price for folks who want to negotiate. Or say that is what everyone else is paying and you have already cut the price.

That brings up a good question: Is it part of a customer's job to ask you for a discount? Should you ask for a discount when you buy something? My answer to both questions is absolutely yes! If the sales person didn’t ask the mechanic for a discount he would never have learned that great strategy.
I am reluctant with everything I buy and you should be too. The only reason I let go of a dollar bill is to get a better grip on it. I work hard for my money and I want to stretch it as far as I can. So do you and so do your customers?  I want to get every ounce of value out of every dollar I spend.

It takes practice to be a reluctant buyer but the dividends are great. By being a reluctant buyer you will learn how to buy everything you buy for less. By being a reluctant seller you will be able to sell everything you sell for more.  Just as you play poker to win, not just to make the other players like you.

Your price is based on a lot of factors and making a profit is not optional. You have to get paid. When you study the reactions of people who are trying to sell something to you, a reluctant buyer, you will learn the best strategies as well as see them in action.

It takes GUTS to ask for things and the more you do it the better you are at it. You might be called a few names in the process, but so what.

This reluctance should also be used when you are selling something and asked to lower your price. NEVER GIVE IN TOO EASILY! Never lower your price without setting up several roadblocks, speed bumps and detours.   Let's say I have a car for sale in my driveway with a $1500 sign.  You pull in.  I immediately go out to the car and take the price down.  I have a new sign that says $2500.  I explain that I didn't realize the prices were so high and the car dealership would give me so much for my trade-in.  I tell you that I will let the car go for $1500 if you try it out and like it and buy it now.  But if you come back tomorrow the price will be $2500.  You buy it at $1500, the price I wanted to sell it to you for.   You might think that's a little cruel.  You can tell that to the person standing next to you in the unemployment line.  Or you can get a job at the post office where the price of a stamp is the price you pay!  (Sorry, you can probably tell I had to learn all this the hard way).

By lowering your price reluctantly you are actually adding value to your product or service. If you lower your price too easily you will actually CHEAT THE BUYER out of the good feeling they get when they know they got you to come down.

I was sitting on the plane and the woman sitting next to me was in advertising sales. When I asked her what her biggest mistake she ever made in sales, here is what she told me. "I was calling on a pawn shop with my sales manager. He told me the bottom line price for the advertising program was $1,500, but to try to get $2,000 and go down slowly and reluctantly so you "add value" to the program. When the customer asked for the price I made a huge mistake and said $1,500! The customer ended up paying $1,400 and I ended up getting chewed out!"

Here is another reason you should be slightly reluctant when giving a price reduction. An accountant once told me that I should forget the term "gross profit" and replace it with "contribution to overhead." He said that every time I lower the price I am giving part of the company away! The warehouse cost is .04%, the sales department cost is .04%, the transportation department is another .04%, administration cost is .04% and the bottom line should be at least .04%. When you cut your price below .20% think about what part of the company you are cutting out and giving away! Which vacation day would you like to give up? How much do you want you insurance deductible to go up? Which customer service person would they like to tell that they can't buy shoes for their kids this week, etc?

You don't want to appear too hungry for the sale or too eager to give everything away. The buyer will be suspicious and begin to wonder why you are so anxious to make a sale.
When you do have to lower your price never come down in equal increments. If you do you will set up a pattern.  The customer will know that to get a discount all they have to do is follow your "pattern" and get a lower price.

If someone asks for a discount, after you've presented your services and quoted a price then you say: "Sure, I can for $400 but that would be without the ___________ and the ________."  You actually eliminate things so that they understand that as the price shrinks so does value.
Another good response when asked to discount your price is to use the "fork in the road" response. Our company came to a "fork in the road" and had to decide if we were going to be simply a price seller or if we were going to be a value seller. We chose to be a value seller and the customers we serve know that in the long run, the value of our high quality products along with our service and support, is like an insurance policy that helps them become successful.

It is necessary to discount your price from time to time. However, you deserve to get paid. Ask your customer if they have any employees who work without being paid. What kind of quality would you expect them to produce? What level of customer service would you expect them to provide to your customers?  How much do you think they would end up stealing from you over time?
If your customer's business is down and they are trying to "cut their way into profitability" they are doomed to fail. The only way to increase business and get more customers is by doing it the old fashioned way. By selling!  


“Just today, I called and placed an order for Direct TV. The salesman went through the whole speal and at the end said I need to give him $300 today. I said thank you, but no thank you because I knew he was full of crap. Then he said hold on, let me think, then he magically gave it to me for $19.00. I knew before I ever made the call that this is how the call would turn out. Had I of charged the $300, he would have laughed all day at my stupidity. I said that to say this, it’s all a game. Sure some people may feel good after having bargained you down to a fair price, but others would not. I didn’t feel any better, I just felt like he was insulting my intelligence.”
Kimberly Burgess

“I am such a penny pincher it would be hard for me to give a discount. I always want to get my monies worth. I am willing to give a “Small” discount to make them feel good about getting us to go down on our price some. I usually can talk them into paying our price because we do deliver what we promise. I know every company has a budget but I have one too. I believe if we have a successful meeting we can come to terms to where I am not losing money and they will think they are getting something for nothing. You have to have your mind set on how far you are willing to drop your price and make sure it is worth it. You must be willing to come to each other terms. They have their mind set just like you have yours. It is like I said they will try to get something for nothing. “
Nina Hall

“Bob, this is one of the lessons from your in person course that I am now using every day. “Is that the best you can do?” I use that daily as a consumer.  My husband finds it embarrassing but he likes the fact that many people will actually give you a better deal. On the flip side, when a customer asks me a price, I am no longer lowering my price. I keep it at regular cost and if the customer repeats the cost, I act surprised. I have added several dollars to my bottom line in just the month since I have returned from your training.”
Candy Swift

“I have started using this approach more and more with my customers and for the most part it seems to work however you do get those 1 or 2 customers that don’t fall for it and say never mind I don’t need it. But what I have found out is that the next week that they ask about the same product to see where my price is at, I would usually take it up about .20 and would you believe it they take it. They realize that they better get it now because the price seems to be going up and should have taken up on it the previous week. Live and learn and I say.”
Sarah Jones

“Very good information. I’m in the process of looking for a car right now and I think this will come in very handy for me. I need a car so badly that I was willing to just take what I could get, but now I feel armed with a good bit of valuable information. I will try this tactic when I sit down at the table with the sales person. I’ll let you know how it goes.”
Brian Spraggins

“Being reluctant to give a discount makes the buyer feel like he has won the battle after the sale has been made. Also, if the buyer is happy then he will most likely turn into a repeat customer. When someone asks for a discount and a number pops in your head to take off the original proposal, split that figure in half or even thirds and see where it leads. Example: Seeing certain figures on paper or anywhere for that matter is all a head game. Which looks better…$4,000.00 or $3,900.00? Just by reducing the price by $100.00 can make it look much more appealing to a buyer. “
David Bradley

“A day late and a dollar short! I needed this lesson two weeks ago. I am normally fairly good with negotiations; this one client wanted to go straight to the bottom line, which I did. NOTE TO SELF: Don’t give out your bottom line number!!!! I gave him the bottom line number and 2 days later he came back with a lower price. They were adamant on not paying what we bottom lined. Moral of the story- I lost $$$. Ouch- expensive lesson.  Been there, done that and it won’t happen again.”
Teresa Cloninger

“Automatically reducing your fee is making a statement that you are not confident in your own ability to deliver a good/better product or service to the potential customer. I feel it says that a person does not value their own self worth. I’m a firm believer if I going to work hard to deliver an excellent service that I should be compensated for my effort and diligence in providing that service. On numerous occasions I have encountered sales people that just give it away without a fight, resulting in loosing money not only for the company, but themselves. The number #1 reasoning I hear is “we have to lower our prices because our competitors are” My thinking is if the customer is taking the time to discuss their needs with you, then the competitors they are currently working with at a lower rate must not be doing something right, otherwise the customer wouldn’t be talking with other vendors. Sale people should not focus on “all” the reasons why they need to reduce their fee, but concentrate on all the reasons why they “shouldn’t” reduce their fee.
Carla McCrea

Bob Oros